Upcycle Dog Carrier Backpack

Last winter when we were snow birding in the southwest, we used my backpack to carry our small dog around while on day trips. This fall I decided to make Lyla a dedicated carrier using a thrift store denim skirt my daughter had abandoned. It looked like the right size and shape for the purpose.

I also had some yellow strapping purchased years ago at a fair trade sale. The tag says it was woven in India. The narrower blue strapping and the white toggle were in with my sewing supplies. The only thing I had to buy was the “strap adjuster”.

A thrift shop denim skirt, with accessories to make a dog carrier

The first thing I did was undo the hem of the skirt. I trimmed some of the fabric off and zig zagged the edge using my sewing machine.

After ripping out the hem, trimming and zig zagging the edge

Next I turned it inside out and sewed the bottom shut.

Sewing the bottom edge closed

In order to have a flat bottom, I sewed across the bottom at each side. I also cut out the metal button closest to the bottom, and then had to sew on a scrap of fabric to cover up the hole.

Forming a box shape on each side at the bottom

It seemed like it needed a lining. I found some blue and white striped fabric on hand, cut out pieces in the same shape as the skirt, and sewed it together to match the denim.

Skirt and lining fabric ready for the next step
Lining ready for hand sewing inside the denim outer layer

I pinned and and hand stitched the lining and straps in place. I also machine stitched across the back to make sure the straps were secure.

Ready for stitching the lining and straps in place

Once the lining was attached, I wanted to try it out. The dog knew something was up and hid under the dining room table when I tried to put her in the bag. I caught her off guard later, and got her inside. She seemed to settle in and looked peaceful, and did not try to get out, when I sat on the sofa with her in the bag on my lap.

I looked at how the straps worked on the back of my regular backpack, and then attached straps to my home made bag with the same technique, using the “strap adjuster” I bought online. I found a tie (that may have been pulled out of a hoody sweatshirt) and threaded it through the waistband, so I could cinch the top closed tighter.

Straps completed
Close up of the back
Close up of the top front

Voila! This bag can be used for the dog or for other things.

Completed backpack
Lyla in the backpack

I will probably have to chase Lyla around when she sees the backpack coming out, but once she is inside she will be safe and cozy on long hikes or outings.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

9 thoughts on “Upcycle Dog Carrier Backpack

  1. Very clever and useful. It is so nice to see all these odds and ends we have lying about put to good use. You really need to check out the “Upcycling fabric” group on Facebook, this project is right up their alley. This bag looks great for carrying anything, not just for the dog. Snacks down to the beach, etc. Sometimes we need a more sturdy bag like this.

    Liked by 1 person

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